He continued: “And when they took him back to his prison, he said, ‘I have to go back. I am still hurt and sick. And they put him back in solitary confinement, where he had spent most of the past seven months. So he protests against that. This is against all Russian regulations and European human rights.
Asked about his son’s condition during the strike, Joey Reed said a lawyer was able to pass on a handwritten note from Trevor Reed in which he said “he’s fine”.
“He’s still coughing up blood. And he says he’s got something sticking out of his side, either a rib or some cartilage. And yet he’s not getting any treatment except aspirin,” Joey Reed said.
Trevor Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 for endangering “the life and health” of Russian police officers during an altercation. Reed and his family have denied the charges against him.
This week’s hunger strike is the second Reed has organized in recent months. Last November, he organized a six-day strike to protest against his detention in Russia and the “numerous and flagrant violations” of his human rights by the Russian authorities.
Meeting at the White House
Publicist Jen Psaki confirmed Wednesday that Biden met with the family at the White House.
“During their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue working to secure the release of Trevor, Paul Whelan and other Americans wrongfully detained in Russia and elsewhere, and to provide all possible assistance until that they and others are free and return home to their families who are campaigning so passionately for their release,” Psaki said in a statement.
She added: “We are grateful for their partnership and feedback. We will continue to work to ensure that we communicate and share information in a way that is helpful to these families.”
The Reeds had hoped their protest would secure them a meeting with the president, and after leaving the White House grounds on Wednesday, they described Biden as “very personable.” He had listened “attentively”, they said.
“He listened carefully to everything we had to say until we were done talking. We couldn’t have asked for more,” Joey Reed said.
Paula Reed added: “We have to get rid of everything we wanted to say to him, and it’s done. We have to say what we wanted to say. He listened carefully and we are grateful for that.”
Earlier this month, the Reeds spoke with Biden by phone, who called them after giving a speech in Fort Worth, Texas. A White House official said at the time that the president called the Reeds “to reiterate his commitment to do everything he can to bring their son home, to stay in close contact with them through of his national security team and finding a time to meet in person.”
Asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins earlier Wednesday if he would meet Reed’s parents while they’re in town, Biden said, “I’ll see if I can see them. They’re good people. I don’t have – We are trying to solve this problem.”
The Reeds said Wednesday they plan to continue “spreading the word” and maintaining public pressure to secure their son’s release, as well as the release of other Americans detained overseas.
“And I hope the President does what he needs to do to get our son and other Americans home as quickly as possible before – before they die, they are hurt for life,” Joey Reed said. .
This headline and story were updated with additional developments on Wednesday.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.